Home South African More disruptions this week as airlines amend schedules

More disruptions this week as airlines amend schedules

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The minister said that the call to ground aircraft was not made by SACAA, but operators themselves as “an act of precaution”.

Cape Town – Flying passengers should brace themselves for more disruptions this week as

safety concerns by the SA Civil Aviation

Authority (SACAA) have forced airlines

to ground planes and make adjustments

to schedules

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday there was no reason for panic and that “everything should be back to normal by the end of the week”.

National carrier SAA said it may operate on an amended flight schedule following a decision to recall some of its aircraft.

“A number of airlines announced delays and grounding of aircraft yesterday morning as a precautionary measure following a safety audit conducted

by SACAA on SAA Technical (SAAT), which maintains aircraft on behalf of a number of airlines, including SAA, Mango and Comair/British Airways,” said Mbalula.

The minister said that the call to ground aircraft was not made by SACAA, but operators themselves as “an act of precaution”.

Mbalula could not say what technical faults were noted in the audit report.

“SACAA is an agency of the Department of Transport with a mandate to regulate aviation safety and security.

“The regulator has consistently maintained a proud safety record,

earning accolades from its peers around the world.

“We have been briefed by SACAA that as a consequence of the sampling of a few aircraft, these were subsequently issued with a prohibition order, meaning that these could not operate until they had addressed the non-compliances,” said Mbalula.

“There is no crisis and need for panic. These checks happen all the time and are important. SAA, in particular, have a plan to address the challenges,” said Mbalula.

He said there was not a total shutdown and that when the regulator spoke, action must be taken.

“The delays and cancellations experienced yesterday morning were precautionary measures taken by the affected airlines to ensure that no aircraft takes to the skies without absolute certainty as to its airworthiness,” he said.

SAA said some of its flights would operate later than usual. It said there were four domestic flight cancellations yesterday and it had combined flights and deployed larger aircraft to accommodate affected passengers.

“SAA understands the inspection by SACAA was in accordance with its regulations and a necessary exercise to ensure compliance and safety,” it said

Mango Airlines said: “As safety is our primary concern, we immediately began working with SAAT throughout the night to rectify these findings and are confident that we will have aircraft that are safe and ready for service during the course of day (yesterday).

“However, as the process is not yet concluded, this does mean that some delays will be experienced.

“Mango Airlines has activated

contingency plans in order to

minimise disruption during the

course of today and ensure our

guests reach their destinations safely. 

“We will continue to update affected

guests via SMS and will publish

updated schedules on our social

media platforms,” the airline said.

Comair said its flight schedule

had been amended and it was

working to normalise the schedule

and minimise disruptions.

 

Airports Company SA (Acsa)

said: “We are working with the

affected airlines to understand

their respective contingency plans

and what the potential impact of

the SACAA directive is on airport

operations. 

“Acsa will provide further

information as soon as it is available

to us.

“In the meantime, affected

passengers should remain in contact

with their respective airlines.”

Cape Times